GPs offered inner city reward

GPs are to be offered a 'golden hello' to work in deprived areas of north London. Camden and Islington Family Health Services Authority plans to offer a guaranteed salary of pounds 42,000 a year for GPs who take up posts in the area, where an estimated 50,000 residents are not registered with a GP.

This follows concern that some parts have too few GPs, not enough women and only a handful able to speak local non-English languages.

Normally if a practice takes on a new doctor, existing GPs have to take a cut in salary. The authority plans to top up the income of its practices so that existing GPs would not suffer, and the salaries of new GPs would be in line with the national average.

But GPs would have to accept any patient, regardless of health. Only violent ones could be turned away.

The authority plans initially to offer posts at Killick Street, Ampthill Square and Bath Street. The money will come partly from the London Implementation Group, a Department of Health group trying to encourage more primary health care.

London has a problem recruiting GPs. Iona Heath, a Kentish Town GP and chair of the Royal College of General Practioners' inner city task force said: 'You need a degree of commitment to work in an inner city. GPs here tend to earn less because on average they have a high workload. We have patients that need more care.'

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